Mbulelo Mpofu, Showbiz Reporter
THE last quarter of 2021 ushered in the sure and steady return of live performances for creatives in the arts sector after forced inactivity due to Covid-19 lockdowns.
The turn of the year, 2022 would spell relief and become a renaissance to the sector’s dearth with the resumption of live shows as Covid-19 cases declined. This then would set the tone for what would be a year of firsts and also, mixed emotions.
With only a day left till 2023, Saturday Leisure provides a rundown of a series of events of artistic proportions that will forever leave an indelible mark on Bulawayo and the country as a whole.
The year started off on a slow note but in April, for the first time since Zimbabwe enjoyed the fruits of independence, the Government conferred the City of Bulawayo with the honour of hosting this year’s main Independence Celebrations at Barbourfields Stadium under the theme, “[email protected] – Leaving no one behind.”
Indeed, no one was left behind as members of the public were treated to free entertainment and danced the night out with South African acts, Master KG and Zanda Zakuza.
This was surely a special year for the arts sector in Bulawayo as new players in the television industry were introduced. One such player is Jive TV which was introduced at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Tea Room.
Jive TV is part of six channels commissioned by the Broadcasting Authority Zimbabwe (Baz) last year.
The other five channels include Shasha, Dandaro, Sports 263, ZBC TV, and ZBC News 24 and they will be available on both Digital Terrestrial Transmission (DTT) and Direct to Home (DTH).
Bulawayo will forever keep in remembrance the first day of each August as a dark cloud engulfed the city with the passing of arts guru Cont Mhlanga due to pneumonia. This year also saw the death of Mhlanga’s former protégé and comic therapist, Clive Chigubhu.
Chigubhu, who immortalised the phrase, “Yeye” lost his battle with Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma which had him bedridden for quite a while in April.
In all the splendour, Bulawayo was not bereft of controversy and one such incident occurred one Saturday in January when the wall adjacent to the City Hall served as a canvas for muralists to exhibit their artistry.
Zim Hip Hop Award Visual arts winner Leeroy “Spinx” Brittain also known as the “Rebel for a cause” painted a mural depicting King Lobengula and Mbuya Nehanda embracing each other, a move that ended up causing an uproar and social media bedlam.
Explaining his rebellious acts, the muralist would confess love and unity.
“The answer lies in the fact that I was raised by my Ndebele grandmother and Shona grandfather so that makes me confidently say that I was raised by unconditional love,” he said.
In July, Bulawayo hip-hop poster boy and Def Jam Recordings Africa recruit Asaph got into a verbal warfare with rapper Lee_Zie Taylor with the latter addressing the former as a “woman”.
As if a verbal altercation was not enough, the situation escalated to Lee_Zie Taylor throwing booze at Asaph and other rappers quickly intervening at what was about to get physical.
The film sector would not be left behind as well as the first IsiNdebele science-fiction film premièred in the city. In July, local film actor and director, Daniel Lasker inducted himself into Bulawayo film sector’s folklore with theatrical poise after premièring his award-winning sci-fi The Signal.
In July, popular South African artiste DJ Tira reportedly lost his passport and this was the first time that this has happened to an international artiste in the country.
Posting on his Facebook page one Sunday afternoon, DJ Tira said: “I have lost my passport in Gwanda, Zimbabwe if anyone finds it.” This would then mean a prolonged stay in the country and a meet-up with President Mnangagwa where the pair deliberated on activities to boost tourism in the country.
Makoya Bearings, as DJ Tira is known, told Chronicle Showbiz that a #FactZimRocks might be on the cards in the near future.
“I met President Mnangagwa on July 27 and this was in connection with an event that I’m trying to bring to Zimbabwe called Fact Zimbabwe Rocks. The event will work hand in hand with the Zimbabwean Government to boost the country’s tourism sector and entertainment industry,” said DJ Tira.
This year was one when people witnessed history made when Sandra Ndebele’s tenth studio album amassed outrageous sums of money, it made over US$30 000 at an auction. Massive!
Bulawayo also recorded continental success when Carl Joshua Ncube and Vusa Mkhaya had fruitful mini-Sadc tours, cementing the city and region’s musical and comedic legacy in the continent.
The eventful year also saw newcomers in the sector gaining recognition with Andre The Vocalist winning a Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) accolade and Charleston Trust School Choir getting an AfriCAN Children of the Year Awards (ACOTYA) nomination.
2022 is almost done and creatives are wrapping up projects, gearing for 2023 with their heads held high. Only time will tell how that will pan out.
All-female imbube group, Nobuntu wrapped up the year on an ugly note — two members of the band, Heather Dube and Brenda S Rera disappeared while on tour in the United States of America. What a huge let down!
Article Source: The Chronicle